Mathias crowned FOB queen

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A queen was crowned for the first time in 12 years Thursday on the opening day of the 38th annual Festival of the Bells in Hillsboro.

Six girls entered the contest and when all the interviews were done and impromptu questions answered, Kensley Mathias, who will be a junior at North Adams High School in Seaman, was crowned queen. The first runner-up was Kora McCarty, who will be a senior at Hillsboro High School; second runner-up Kathryn Ogden, a graduate of Hillsboro High School headed to Shawnee State University; and third runner-up Jenna Canada, who will be a freshman at Whiteoak High School.

Festival of the Bells Committee President Tom Zile said the Hillsboro Junior Women’s Club stepped and agreed to give a $500 scholarship to the queen to be used after they graduate from high school. He also said the queen will represent and promote the Festival of the Bells over the next year by traveling to other festivals around the state.

During opening ceremonies Thursday, Zile read a long list of festival sponsors whose names are on large billboards on each side of the festival stage. He said that while the festival is free to visitors, the three-day event capped by up-and-coming entertainers each evening would not be possible without the sponsors.

“It’s one of the few places where you get concerts for free for three nights,” Zile said. … “Each year it gets more expensive so if you would like to help us, or know someone who would like to help us, let us know.”

He also said the city of Hillsboro has done “a lot of stuff behind the scenes that you don’t know and don’t see.”

Zile said insurance for the festival doubled over the past year and that the Sinking Spring Community Church gave a large donation to cover part of that cost.

The three nights of concerts started Thursday with Christian music artist Riley Clemmons. It continues Friday and Saturday with performances at 9 p.m. by country music artists Shane Profitt and Tyler Braden, respectively.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

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